To Moderate or not to Moderate? That’s the Question, but What’s the Answer?

What's moderate? A whole bottle of wine? Two? None?
What’s moderate? A whole bottle of wine? Two? None?

As bloggers, we get all kinds of comments. They are intrinsic to the whole bloggy bit. I look forward to comments. I like making comments. They are the lifeblood of the blogging world. They range from the hilarious to the poignant. But every now and then, we can get comments that prompt a different range of reaction.

There’s the kind that sets your teeth on edge. The kind that pisses you off. The kind that creeps you out.

I publish comments that I don’t agree with. I try to address them the best way I can without being rude or offensive. Live and let live. Not everyone is the same and diversity is healthy.

The creepy ones? The ones that make you feel like you’ve stepped on a dead slug with your bare foot? Those get labelled as spam and sent somewhere.

Then there’s the kind that you don’t know what to do with.

I got one of those yesterday. It rambles and it’s contradictory. It’s confusing at times. It sounds like Sarah Palin.

It could be an honest attempt at expression from someone who struggles with that … or maybe not.

The other thing is that there are bits of it that I really disagree with, and that’s the problem.

Am I being a chickenshit? Am I being lazy? Do I just not want to deal with the layers of stuff going on in this comment? Am I saying that this is my blog, I don’t like that comment, and commentator, you can just stuff it?

Because what really gets me is that this is a comment about narcissism. And the writer ends this comment I-don’t-like with, “and I’m not a narcissist.” Which immediately makes me think that he/she is a narcissist.

But it also sounds like it’s coming from a narcissist. I feel like there’s an attempt to reel me in, to undermine, to, to, slime all over everything.  Sometimes, narcissists like to troll, like to present themselves as victims. Sometimes, they do a sort of hiding in plain sight. Covert narcissists. Then, there’s the narcissist who claims to not be a narcissist. Just so they can press some buttons and laugh at the discomfort they cause.

But maybe I’m over-reacting.

This comment has made me uncomfortable. And because of that, the comment is hiding in moderation-land. And maybe that’s all the warning I need.

If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t go there.

What’s moderate? Letting this person comment and then possibly opening some floodgates to a conversation I don’t want to have? Or is it my duty to just take on the bad with the good and get on with it? Just because I don’t want to do it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

Do you publish comments that you disagree with? That you don’t like? That make you uncomfortable? What are we supposed to be moderating? What’s moderate, anyway?

29 thoughts on “To Moderate or not to Moderate? That’s the Question, but What’s the Answer?”

  1. I Guess if the comment doesn’t show your opinion in it, it’s fine. But if somehow it makes you look bad or thinking the same as them (in which u obviously don’t agree with), then better to not allow it to be public 🙂 I guess.

  2. Well I say trust yourself on that one. I don’t believe I have had any comments that made me feel uncomfortable yet… it is one thing if it is “respectful disagreeing”, another thing if someone is trying to get under your skin… With narcissists we were often told our instincts were wrong, but now I think it is one of the best tools we have, to keep toxic people out… Your blog, your rules. (I even put a request on my About page that people keep a nice tone in comments). Good luck. Good topic, by the way! 🙂

    1. Thank you. 🙂

      I haven’t run into this issue much either, but I guess that if you blog long enough, one will show up (or more). Most of the time, I’ve just adopted a neutral, sort of benign tone in my responses. This particular one has riled me, though. I feel a bit like I’m back in narcville.

      Good point about listening to ourselves. We were so often told what to think and what to feel.

      Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  3. I’ve never really received a comment that made me feel uncomfortable, Lynette. Typically when someone new makes a comment, I check them out to see if they’re active on other blogs that I follow, before giving them the approval.

  4. The way I see it, if someone has taken the time to make a comment on a post that I make then I try to post it and have some sort of reply. Sometimes I get comments from people who don’t agree with (or seem to understand) what I’m saying, and that’s fine as I welcome all sorts of opinions.
    That said, I’ve never encountered a comment that made me uncomfortable. If I did, or if I had a comment that was unrelated or just a tirade then I would probably choose not to publish it.

    1. Thanks for coming by and for your comments. 🙂 I have to say that that has been my feeling, as well – let people say what they want to say. But this particular comment is of a type that I haven’t encountered before, on my own blog, anyway. To some extent, I’m still processing it and trying to figure out why it’s had such an impact.

  5. Interesting question, Lynette. I look at my blog as having its own house style – as does a magazine or newspaper. While I wouldn’t necessarily censor comments, I draw the line at abusive language. I had a situation about six months ago when a blogger took exception to the subject I was writing about. He posted an opinionated rant as to why I shouldn’t even be featuring a particular person and cited unsubstantiated hearsay. When I challenged his idea his reply became disgustingly abusive and personal. Consequently I edited and trashed the thread of conversation – my mother reads my blog, after all. He wouldn’t let it go and quoted Charlie Hebdo at me! I see him commenting on other blogs as all sweetness and light and part of me wishes that I had kept the thread on my blog so that everyone could see what this jerk is really like. But I’d do it again. I don’t mind a healthy difference of opinion but I’m not standing for abusiveness. Some people obviously don’t know the difference!

    1. Thanks, Jenny. 🙂

      Sorry to hear that you had a hard time with this idiot. Charlie Hebdo – wow.

      I like how you say that your blog has its own house style. I think mine does, too. People can more or less say whatever they like as long as it doesn’t get personal or abusive – let’s face it, when people get abusive it’s also personal, which is also why it’s abusive. But I don’t want to feel uncomfortable, or for anyone else to feel that way, either, especially the people who come by on a regular basis.

      You make a good point about allowing the comment(s) so that others can see what a jerk this person is. It’s amazing how some people can’t see how offensive they’re being; how they think that doing the equivalent of shouting and bullying will make others change their minds.

  6. I haven’t come across that yet but I wouldn’t hesitate to block or delete an abusive or questionable comment. It’s your space, censor away! 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂

      I guess the problem is with me, really. What is it about this comment that’s making me feel uncomfortable? Another person looking at it might say that it’s perfectly fine.

  7. I don’t moderate. At all really lol. The only time I’ve deleted a comment was because it was geared towards me in a sexual way. I thought not only would it be disrespectful to myself to leave it on there, but also my husband who loves reading my blog and any comments people make. I let everything fly otherwise whether I disagree with them or not. If something makes you uncomfortable… that’s not cool, though.

    1. Sexual comments – yuck. And yes, there are other readers who might also feel uncomfortable. I have seen this played out from time to time on other blogs. Nasty comments that I sometimes just skip.

      Thanks for weighing in. 🙂

  8. Hi Lynette,

    (Sorry if this is a duplicate, I had trouble logging in – Just moderate me 🙂 )

    It is an interesting question. Do or Don’t. The answer is of course a personal one.

    It is your blog, and you have the option to “do” or “not do” as you choose. It depends on what you want to achieve.

    Not everything we say or do is agreed with by others, and nor should it be. We all have opinions, and every one of our opinions is right – for ourselves only. Whether someone agrees or not, is up to them.

    I moderate, because that is my choice. I do debate if someone wants to. However if the debate turns in a direction that I don’t want to tread, then it is my right to moderate as I chose to.

    I remember a debate on climate change and global warming on my blog. No matter what I said, or what argument I presented, the other person kept presenting the same argument. In the end I decided I was sick of it, and moderated further comments. That is my choice, and mine alone. I made no further comments, nor alleged what had occurred – just an end.

    While the other person may have an opinion, you don’t have to engage with them if you don’t want to. It’s your blog!

    If I were to ever feel uncomfortable with a comment, I would delete it. However I would also analyse what was in my mind and what made me feel uncomfortable. This would allow me to grow and become a better person.

    Reflect on how their post makes you feel, don’t try to analyse them or their motives, but analyse yourself. It makes you a better and stronger person.

    If the other person wants to argue or bad mouth, it doesn’t have to be on your blog – if you don’t want it to.

    To put it bluntly, I don’t have time to waste on dickheads. If they want to be a dickhead, they can do it somewhere else.

    However, if I were to write an offensive post (like the one that I wrote the other day), then I should be prepared to also cop some flack – as I probably deserve it! 🙂

    However, if you make a statement about a particular person, or group, IMHO you should always give the right for them to respond, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. To do otherwise would be disingenuous.

    However I would not personally attack someone on my blog, that is very dangerous water. Companies on the other hand, are fair game, but you still have to be very careful.

    Stay well, and take care,

    1. Hi Greg,

      Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts.

      Yes, I have been thinking about what it is about this comment that’s making me feel uncomfortable. I agree that this process does make us better and stronger and more self-aware. In the case of this comment, it’s not exactly the words that have been used, although I have some issue there as well. It’s the tone. This tone is reminding me of something that I’m not quite getting.

      On the other hand, I’ve really wondered if I’m just being terribly thin-skinned and making mountains out of molehills or if I’m just trying to avoid dealing with a sticky challenge.

      Thank you for your very thoughtful input. 🙂

      You take care, too. 🙂

  9. Dear Lynette and Friends, yep, it’s one thing to whole-heartedly disagree, but when the comment crosses common boundaries, the delete key is readily available. The dweebs can go to the hate-sites their comments will be more than welcome there.

  10. I have no trouble not posting a comment which is derogatory or offensive to someone. Lively discourse is always welcome. However, while I am an advocate of free speech, that does not include abusive language. I recently did a post on my FB page. It started out as a good discourse on Dr. Google versus modern medicine but ended up with one of my “friends” being extremely abusive to one of the commenters. It was totally uncalled for. I unfriended them. I don’t need that type of toxic person in my life. Do what you feel is right but we don’t have to take crap from anyone. We own these blogs!

    1. Hi Nelson,

      Good to hear from you. 🙂

      I think that most of the commentators here agree with you. It’s more that I’m personally struggling with this, not really knowing if I’m over-reacting. I’m having trouble definitively pinpointing what’s wrong with this comment. It’s tone; it’s partly what was said. However, I don’t like the tone at all.

      I think I’m coming to the conclusion that anything that bothers me this much can stay in moderation until I’ve figured it out. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your FB experience. 🙂

  11. I have learned that they try to reel you in by getting you to debate with them as we all learn the hard way when we have dealt with them for years, just go with your gut-stuff trying to do the right thing all the time..

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